Small Buildings, Big Hearts: Explore Miniature Brooklyn by Aaron Kinard


Between walls and cabinets filled with artwork, two aquariums and a city of miniature buildings, you’ll never run out of things to observe in Aaron Kinard’s peaceful apartment in Prospect Heights.

In the nearly four years since Kinard began creating dioramas — three-dimensional miniatures, figures, and scenes — he’s amassed quite a collection.

All of his pieces have a rich history and a deep connection to Kinard and his life experiences. He recreated miniature brownstones from his time in Brooklyn, snowy scenes from his childhood, and fish market memories with his partner, Meng.

“Each artist can choose which part of the story they want to personify, and that’s mine,” Kinard said.

Kinard created this model under the Trump administration as a form of activism and social commentary. Credit: Aaron Kinard

Since the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, Kinard has also used his miniatures as a form of anti-racism activism. A miniature building has “TRUMP 2020, Keep America Great” pasted across.

On the street below the ad, Kinard says it depicts reality: the homeless, the racial divide, the influx of white supremacists. Another of his miniature scenes navigates the horrific history of lynchings in the United States.

“It’s my outlet,” he said.

All of Kinard’s miniatures begin with a digital drawing, which he creates on his computer. Then the eight-hour 3D printing process begins, slowly building up detailed layers of resin until the model is complete.

Once the resin has hardened, it is then hardened and washed. Last but not least, Kinard paints the piece and sets it with miniature figures, static grass and other elements to bring the scene to life. These last parts of the process are her favorites.

Kinard modeled this room after Bed Stuy, where he lived for years and cherished memories. Credit: Aaron Kinard

Despite his vast and fascinating collection, Kinard kept his miniatures mostly private. It was only recently that he shared a photo of his brownstone recreation on a Bedford Stuyvesant Facebook group, where it sparked a frenzy of likes, comments and shares.

“The main purpose of my works is not to spread them… it just helps me with the craziness that is going on in the world,” Kinard said.

Kinard is a vigorous learner. Using Youtube as a guide, he learned many skills, from renovating an aging aquarium to 3D printing his miniature brownstones. He also taught himself to paint, which, given the realistic textures and colors in his work, is an impressive surprise.

Unlike many artists, Kinard does not write or sketch his ideas. He starts with a vision and follows his creative instincts throughout the process. Sometimes miniatures can take months to complete, although Kinard tries not to keep track of time.

“I never really time them,” he said. “I don’t finish them until they breathe. They must come to life. »

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